26

I found the same situation, living in China for quite some time, and unlike some other people who have answered, I understand exactly what you're asking. It was quite annoying to try to learn new words when the native speaker just tells you the meaning of 3 characters together and doesn't know or can't explain each character's meaning. I think the answer is ...


21

I took the CEDICT file and wrote a script on it. The file has 113k dictionary entries, so it covers a very large portion of the Chinese vocabulary. There are 1522 different pinyin syllables in CEDICT, when you distinguish tone numbers (like, ma1, ma2, ma3, ma4, ma). If you do not care about tone numbers, you'll get 413 syllables (ma, mo, mi, etc.) Here's ...


20

「在」in「你在笑什麽」is not equivalent to English at in what are you laughing at?. To demonstrate by analogy: 你在吃什麽 - what are you eating? 你在做什麽 - what are you doing? 「在」is actually equivalent to the suffix -ing in laughing, eating, doing. It is English which grammatically requires something as a target for the verb laughing; this requirement is redundant in ...


18

Interesting, but this is a coincidence. Baby comes from a reduplicated Proto-Germanic root *bō-, which is cognate to English boy, appended with a diminutive suffix -y. 寶貝 comes from the meaning rare/precious seashells; this usage is attested at least since the Han dynasty. As a term of endearment, this started appearing as early as in the novel Dream of ...


17

高兴 means glad, a temporary state of mind. E.g: I'm glad it's sunny today -- 今天是晴天, 我很高兴. 快乐 means happy, and I agree it's the only one in the list that can be used for festivals. E.g. 节日快乐 (happy holiday). 我很快乐 (I'm very happy -- in this case same as 高兴). 愉快 means pleasant. That's why you see it used with "weekend" -- have a pleasant weekend = 周末愉快. It's ...


15

This question is really about: " when can we omit the possessive 的 " 的 1.(adjective suffix): For example: 强大勇敢 (strong and brave) 强大勇敢的人 (strong and brave man) You cannot omit the adjective suffix 的 and write 强大勇敢人 高大 (tall and big) 高大的人 (tall and big man) You cannot omit the adjective suffix 的 and write 高大人 Adjectives that do not need ...


15

For all practical purposes, you can think of this as a spelling convention. The finals are pronounced the same, even if all finals are to some extent influenced by the preceding initial. In Pinyin, there is (almost) no overlap between these two spellings, so any given initial that can be followed by -uo can never be followed by -o and vice versa. The actual ...


14

Most languages use an alternate greeting for telephone calls; the English "hello", although originating from before the telephone, was popularised by it, so much so that it has become a common greeting outside the telephone: hello 1883, alt. of hallo (1840), itself an alt. of holla, hollo, a shout to attract attention, first recorded 1588. Perhaps ...


14

To understand the differences properly, you need to know what is 面 and what is 边. 面 is a face whereas 边 is an edge. An edge is like a line guiding you the direction. A face is what is facing you giving you a sense of position. 前/后面 is used to describe the position of something within your visual range. Whereas, 前/后边 is more appropriately used to describe ...


14

I'm not sure where you could get an accurate count for how many there are. Considering that loanwords have been coming into Chinese for thousands of years, it definitely won't be a trivial task. There is certainly quite a few, however, not all of which is current/widespread/universal. I'll list some here, and edit more in if I think of any later: Angel: ...


13

I think the difference between Cantonese and Mandarin is more like the difference between English and Swedish. They are obviously very closely related and share a lot of vocabulary, but intelligibility is pretty much zero. The poster who compared the difference to American and British English is TOTALLY wrong. Many Mandarin speakers will claim that they can ...


13

Chinese characters and phonetics You say: Unlike English, Chinese is not a spelling language, which means there is no hint from the characters for pronunciation!!! Luckily for us, that's not true! Actually, by some estimates, almost 90% of characters have a phonetic component to them. To understand what that actually means, you have to know how characters ...


13

It means one of these dogs wears a red sweater. ...里 literally means in/among ..., and it is followed by 有一只, which means there is one. Hence the whole sentence translates literally as Among these dogs there is one wearing a red sweater.


12

If you're only going one week, just learn some Mandarin. The advantages of learning Mandarin is that there are a lot of free resources, cheap and useful phrase books, and most people you will run into will understand Mandarin. I've been studying Minnanhua (spoken in Fujian and pretty much mutually intelligible with Taiwanese) for about a year and I ...


12

So time for an update… If you want to play by the books, biang is not a permissible syllable. If you are concerned with what comes out of a speaker’s mouth, syllables like nim (contraction of 你們) are even possible, although they are technically surface realizations of a phonology that does not allow such syllables. The surprising fact is that iang as a rime ...


12

“坏” is a very general word meaning something "useless", but what makes the thing "坏了" has many reasons, and “破了” is one of them, so when something's state is “破了”, you can also say something is “坏了”;However “破” means something is broken or has cracks. So when you describe something that is useless because of inner reasons such as quality, but it still looks ...


12

It is Amis/Pangcah (阿美族語), the language of one of the Taiwanese aborigines (台灣原住民). 阿ㄘㄟˊ ( ā céi ) means "ridiculous; crazy; unreasonable; nonsense; goofy; outrageous; nuts". 阿ㄘㄟˊ: You are nuts! Similar phrases include 瘋了, 笨蛋, 不可理喻, 無理取鬧, 無稽之談, 胡說八道......


11

(As I very recently learned) The standard pronunciation for 垃圾 is lājī in the PRC and lèsè in Taiwan An obvious question to ask is Why? Although I could not find an authoritative source, I have seen a number of claims that are very similar to each other. I'll refer to the talk page for 垃圾 on Wikipedia: 标准普通话是读laji,以前的国语是读lese,因为垃圾本来是在方言中首先使用的,...


11

Actually they all came from their pronunciation. America: 美利坚 ("美国" for short) England: 英格兰 ("英国" for short)


11

在 and 中 are serving two different functions here. The preposition 在 at the start of the sentence indicates where something happens. Meanwhile, the 中 here is technically a noun meaning "the inside", not "middle". It signifies that the link is opened on a new tab page, i.e. *the inside of a tab page". Taken as a whole, then, the Chinese sentence is actually ...


11

Your sample sentence should be "我在我的手机上听音乐" as ChineseHulu.com said.And you actually SHOULD not omit the word "上" in this sentence,or it would be a little bit weird to native Chinese people. "在...上" is a preposition phrase.It can be used on representational target like: 在操场上 -- on playground 在沙发上 -- on sofa And it can be used on abstract target like 在手机上 -...


11

Same as English just without the for. 谢谢 + what. "thank you for the gift" = 谢谢 + 礼物 - maybe you would say 你送给我的礼物 or just 你的礼物 "you for inviting me for dinner" = 谢谢 + 邀请 + 晚餐 - so altogether you would say 谢谢你那天邀请我吃晚饭 (which is for what already happened - seeing as you're writing a card, so obviously you're thanking for the dinner you've already eaten and ...


11

As Maroon points out in a comment, you have to say which dialect you are asking about. This answer is for Standard Chinese, aka Mandarin. It also depends on what sort of stuff you include. Counting the distinct lines in the syllable index of the Pinyin Chinese-English Dictionary, I get 420 "lines" but this includes some very marginal stuff such as tei, kei,...


11

There have been conflicting claims on whether the second tone and the "raised third tone" are distinct, but according to Jerry Norman's 1988 book, Chinese, "Perceptual tests done by Dreher and Lee (1966) and Wang and Li (1967) established that native speakers are unable to make a consistent distinction between second tones and raised third tones" (147). So ...


11

This is an interesting question, because it allows us to look at how words are formed in modern Chinese. The Characters Both 兒 and 子 meant "child" or "son" in ancient Chinese. 兒 was more specific, while 子 had a variety of other uses, like "master" (as in 孔子 - master Kong/Confucius). When 子 meant child, it was somewhat inclusive of female children, although ...


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